Auditory contrast versus compensation for coarticulation: Data from japanese and english listeners

John Kingston, Shigeto Kawahara, Daniel Mash, Della Chambless

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


English listeners categorize more of a [k-t] continuum as "t" after [sh{phonetic}] than [s] (Mann & Repp, 1981). This bias could be due to compensation for coarticulation (Mann & Repp, 1981) or auditory contrast between the fricatives and the stops (Lotto & Kluender, 1998). In Japanese, surface [sh{phonetic}k, sh{phonetic}t, sk, st] clusters arise via palatalization and vowel devoicing from /sik, sit, suk, sut/, and acoustic vestiges of the devoiced vowels remain in the fricative. On the one hand, compensation for coarticulation with the devoiced vowel would cancel out compensation for coarticulation with the fricative, and listeners would not show any response bias. On the other hand, if the stop contrasts spectrally with the fricative, listeners should respond "t" more often after [sh{phonetic}i] than [su]. Experiment 1 establishes that [k] and [t] coarticulate with preceding voiced [i, u], voiceless [i, u], and [sh{phonetic}, s]. Experiment 2 shows that both Japanese and English listeners respond "t" more often after [sh{phonetic}i] than [su], as predicted by auditory contrast. English listeners' "t" responses also varied after voiced vowels, but those of Japanese listeners did not. Experiment 3 shows that this difference reflects differences in their phonetic experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-525
Number of pages27
JournalLanguage and Speech
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Dec 1



  • English
  • Japanese
  • auditory contrast
  • compensation for coarticulation
  • crosslinguistic comparison

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing

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